This module offers an introduction to the theory and practice of professional learning in organisations. The module consists of three components that will be integrated: 1) theory, 2) skills lab and 3) a project (change laboratory).
The theory component provides an overview of the most important theoretical perspectives and research on professional learning in organizations from a mixture of disciplines, including psychology, educational science, human resource management and sociology. In this component, students start to get a deeper understanding of how people learn and develop during their work and how this learning takes place at both individual and organization level. In addition, the theory will increase students’ insights in how to facilitate learning at the workplace, how to design powerful interventions for attractive learning environments and the role technology and new media can play in designing learning interventions for workplace learning.
The skills lab offers guided practice to link theoretical knowledge to skills and competences needed to act as a HRD professional in a corporate setting.
In the skills lab component students will become familiar with various frameworks for designing learning interventions. They will practice the competences needed for analysing the nature of a problem related to professional learning at the workplace. More specific, students will learn interpersonal and consultancy skills that are needed for framing a problem, negotiating and dealing with facilitating and inhibiting factors and gaining support for implementation. Moreover, students will practice professional skills for performing fieldwork, i.e. conducting individual and group interviews, and consulting employees, staff members and managers.
In addition, in the skills lab students will design and practice HRD interventions aimed at enhancing professional learning at the workplace and reflect on their learning experiences. The choice of interventions will be related to concrete problems at hand and the students’ preferences. The reflection will include the effectiveness of interventions, the theoretical framework used, the role of organisational and personal factors and the added-value (value creation) for the organisation.
In the project, entitled ‘Improving professional learning of the new generation of knowledge workers’ students will focus on improving professional learning of the new generation of knowledge workers. More and more, organizations have adopted different forms of smart working in order to effectively adapt to a constantly changing environment. For the new generation of knowledge workers, smart working provides opportunities for working more flexible, resulting in extra effort, higher levels of work engagement and increased productivity. Smart working in organisations goes hand in hand with new ways of professional learning. Questions that arise are:
- How do we relate employees’ autonomy at work to effective self-directed and self-regulated forms of learning?
- How do we organize team learning, when team members seldom meet each other face-to- face or are geographically separated?
- How can we make the knowledge of employees accessible for their colleagues?
- How do we deal with the great diversity in working and learning styles of employees?
In the project component of the module, students will apply their knowledge and practice their skills in a real-life context (e.g. healthcare organisations, high tech firms). During the project, students, teachers and professionals and managers of the organizations involved, work together in small teams (change laboratory) to analyse and frame the problems the organisation has with fostering on-going professional learning at the workplace. Based on these analyses, interventions and strategies for enhancing professional learning in the context of smart working in these organisations will be developed and evaluated. Students will present their findings and recommendations in a final advice report that will be discussed with the organisations involved.
To apply for an exchange programme, you will have to follow these seven steps:
1. Pre-application phase: 6 - 4 months before arrival
2. Nomination: 6 - 3 months before arrival
3. Application phase: 6 - 3 months before arrival
4. Assessment phase: 4 - 2 months before arrival
5. Acceptance or rejection: 3 - 2 months before arrival
6. Preparation to arrival phase: 3 - 1 month(s) before arrival
7. Upon arrival and during your stay at the UT